A blog about exploring the natural areas of New Mexico focusing on but not limited to Dona Ana, Luna, Otero, Sierra, Grant, Lincoln,Socorro and Catron counties.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
South Fork Bonito Creek, LIncoln National Forest-May -2012
I went back to the South Fork Bonito Creek hoping to hook up with a few of those trout I saw back in September. One thing I'm beginning to learn: the fish always look bigger when you're not fishing. I have fished the lower 2 miles above the campground so many times, I decided to not to even unpack my rod until I had hiked in an hour or so.There are plenty of fish in these further reaches of the stream. Most seem to be brookies and and most are small. I was hoping for few better sized rainbows,but only caught one very small one. Instead it was just one eager 5-7 inch brookie after another, which can get old after awhile. The prize of the day: a nine inch brook char that I had to work for by getting the little ones out of the way and depositing them in the pool behind me. The South Fork is a beautiful little stream and can be a fun place to fish,but I'm feeling a little jaded. It hasn't been in real prime condition for several years now with good flows and better sized fish. One thing I did learn on this trip is that the brookies are there as far upstream as four miles from the trailhead and maybe farther when there's good water. I turned around near a spot where the stream went underground in a football field sized area of bare rocks and stones probably caused by a flooding event that stripped away all the soil and plants or by rock slide or a combination of the two.There is one of these stretches lower down just above the wilderness boundary as well which is in a more advanced state of recovery. That's the odd thing about these streams around Sierra Blanca. The big and frequent floods and subsequent erosion carves out much larger channels than are needed for the small average flows. IMPORTANT UPDATE: (May, 2014): the entire Southfork Bonito drainage was within the Little Bear Fire burn. Check with the Forest Service for conditions. I suspect the fish population is no more. Trout fishing in the southern half of our state may becoming a thing of the past sooner rather than later.